G’day mates, with Christmas and other holidays rapidly approaching most of us are probably deep into your holiday shopping and trying to come up with something to get your weird Uncle who never likes anything anyone gets him. Well if you a college football player on a team heading to a bowl game, your holiday shopping could possibly be completely done without you having to ever set foot in a mall or visit Amazon. Every year bowl games give players and coaches a variety of gifts to commemorate their participation in the game, afterall, what better way to remember your participation in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl than with a Fossil watch that has nothing at all to do with the bowl game.
Nobody would be surprised and it wouldn’t be much of a story if bowl games gave players who played in the game some clothing with the bowl logo and ring, but that isn’t enough for bowl games and instead they go much farther, giving players a variety of gifts that look like they came from the pricey section of the Skymall magazine that you flip through on a flight. Gifts range from watches to expensive sunglasses to shopping trips to Best Buy; a full listing of the gifts given out by the bowl games can be found here.
Of course many of you may be wondering how this is all possible, doesn’t the NCAA have rules against paying players or giving them extra benefits beyond what the average college student gets. That is all true but don’t worry, the NCAA isn’t going to be declaring most of division I-A ineligible next year as the NCAA has a nice, big loophole which allows bowl games to give players up to $550 in free stuff for participating in the bowl game. It is exceptions like this that make it hard to see the NCAA as anything but a bunch of hypocrites, the organization claims that players shouldn’t be paid for the good of college athletics but then allows many of those same players to rake in huge paydays for paying in what are mostly meaningless end-of-season exhibition games. I am not going to touch the issue of whether or not players should be paid but it would be nice if the NCAA would be consistent, either allow players to be paid or get rid of loopholes that allow ridiculous bowl gifts. With gifts like these for playing in bowl games it isn’t hard to see why players may not view memorabilia given to them by their school as special.
Buckeyes Excel in the Classroom
With all the talk of bowl games and gits, I would be remiss not to give proper attention to the real point of college athletics, to give student-athletes a chance to get a great education. Ohio State student-athletes have a long history of doing well in their classes and this week Ohio State announced that 61 student-athletes had been rewarded for their hard work and dedication to their studies by being named Academic All-Big Ten. To be eligible for the Academic All-Big Ten list, student-athletes must be in at least their second academic year and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
The Ohio State women’s soccer team led the way with 14 players being honored, followed closely by football with 12. Field hockey and men’s soccer each had 10 players honored while women’s cross country had 7 and women’s volleyball had 5. Congratulations to all these great Buckeyes for excelling in both aspects of being student-athletes!
More Honors for OSU Football
The season may be over but that doesn’t mean that the Ohio State football team is done receiving awards. Yesterday the Associated Press announced their All-American teams and three Buckeyes made the list. Fresh on the heals of his announcement to enter the NFL draft, junior defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins was named a second-team All-American. Sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby also was named to the second-team; considering Roby was sound in the nation in passes defended it is sort of surprising that Roby didn’t make the first team. The third Buckeye to be honored was senior defensive end John Simon who was named a third-team All-American. Simon was another surprisingly low selection, I would have expected the Big Ten defensive player of the year to at least make the second team. Simon hopes that this isn’t his last honor of the year as he is also a finalist for the FCA Bowden Award which is given to the college football player who best epitomizes being a student-athlete.
The players are not the only member of the OSU football family who are receiving accolades, coach Urban Meyer was named as a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. This award is designed not only to recognize on the field performance but also a coach that exhibited sportsmanship, integrity, and responsibility. Other finalists for the award are Notre Dame’s Brian Keylly, UCLA’s Jim Mora, Penn State’s Bill O’Brien, Georgia’s Mark Richt, Alabama’s Nick Saban, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, and Louisville’s Charlie Strong. Considering this is an award that also considers off the field things, O’Brien has to be considered the favorite to win it.